Whatever we can say about Impresario, he really means everything he sings. The passion and sincerity are the first hook that draws you in. The album art shows us a Closed Road, but Impresario takes small personal moments experienced during a home lock-down and paints them in a universal way. Is Whatsoever You Do about supporting BLM and decrying police brutality? Yes. Is it also an intimate statement about disappointment in personal relationships? Yes.
Living in My Dreams opens with an 80’s like kick, and we enter into a synthpop landscape, with all proper props to the early 80s. Is the beloved more real in his dreams than in real life? Leap of Faith is late 70s funky fabulous, a great dance tune with a great hook. I’ve been singing it all morning! Then we get to Gringo Bingo… Impresario is known for his snark and sense of fun, and he serves us up good on this track! You’d think it was offensive until you understand the satire… and win big on number 69.
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I found Lean On Me to be the least successful track on the album. It’s nicely sung but doesn’t add much to the many other versions of this song aside from a little gospel funk fitting into the cosmic soundscape. While Sometimes is clearly the emotional midpoint of the album, I’m not sure the piano ballad fits with the overall style. But then comes Goodbye My Friend (for Jason), a short, instrumental break with a melody that rises like a church hymn. Whoever Jason is, he is clearly missed.
Layering meanings of social justice and political protest, Whatsoever You Do riffs on the famous Bible passage in a plea for equality, and anger at those who don’t play nicely with others. What Kind of Man R U? is about anger at little weak men; if this stinks of Orange feces, you’re on the right track. This song comes from that disgusted pit in the stomach Americans have been feeling for 4 years. The Emperor has no clothes, indeed.
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In If You Knew, we take an acoustic guitar break for some singer-songwriter soothing. If life had taken a different turn, would the same people you love be around you right now? Would you change your stubborn ways with hindsight?
The album ends with The Coat Aria (Vecchia Zimarra). Surprise! Bet you didn’t know Impresario is a world-famous opera singer? This aria from Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème presents Colline pawning his favorite coat to aid a friend dying of cold and consumption. This seems like a strange addition to the album, but it’s offered in the same spirit as the other songs. Here is a small snippet of life, one person sacrificing for another, that can be extrapolated to the entire COVID Pandemic, and global protests to protect Black Lives and dismantle institutionalized racism. It may be a small gesture, but it’s a damn warm coat.
Written by Suzanne Fatta, posted by Sebastian Cole